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Airline Restrictions On Lithium Batteries? FUBAR?


I have to preface this by saying that I am not an expert on this issue. With that said…

This new regulation just has my head spinning in circles. After all the craziness with liquids it seems that Lithium Batteries are the next victim of the FAA. I feel like I missed the memo on this in August. The rules about carrying Lithium Ion batteries on airplanes has to be one of the most confusing requirements yet. The worst part is that they are effective as of yesterday January 1st 2008!

Now I have a problem. In 3 days I am heading down to CES 2008 with my laptop, camera, BlackBerry, and a bunch of other rechargeable devices. This means that I have to put any spares for these devices in a plastic bag. Also there is some inane limit on how many grams of Lithium are allowed to be in my luggage or carry on. Seriously I really wish I was not flying this month. I remember the craziness when the liquid ruling came out and they threw out my chapstick because it was not in a plastic baggie! I wonder how many grams of Lithium are in a spare BlackBerry battery?

From what I am understanding the FAA is worried about the contacts on loose batteries shorting out and causing a fire. Supposedly the fire would not be containable by current fire systems on airplanes. The crazy part is that they allow batteries as long as they are installed inside the device they belong to. That means a battery inside a laptop or BlackBerry is fine but otherwise it needs to follow all the requirements.

The ironic part is that they then contradict themselves on the same page:

The research also shows that an explosion will not result from shorting or damaging either lithium-ion or primary lithium batteries. Both are, however, extremely flammable. Primary lithium batteries cannot be extinguished with firefighting agents normally carried on aircraft, whereas lithium-ion batteries are easily extinguished by most common extinguishing agents, including those carried on board commercial aircraft.

So do they pose a fire risk or not??? Anybody got the inside scoop on what this all means??? The best I can find for a description is by PhotoBusinessForum’s blog

2 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I read elsewhere that the concern is that fires created by Lithium batteries cannot be fought by the automatic fire agents in the luggage compartment of the plane. In the cabin, there is less concern with these types of fires since there are various fire extinguishers available.

  2. Yeah I thought so too but what about batteries in your luggage that are connected to a device. For example a shaver?

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